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Top 5 Reasons Not to Budget

You can also check out my staff writer post at Sweating the Big Stuff, Pets – A Bigger Expense Than Expected.  🙂

Invest It Wisely has challenged fellow bloggers to play devil’s advocate to their normal beliefs. 

I am obviously a big fan of budgeting, so today I will be presenting you with the top 5 reasons not to have a budget:

1)  Time.

  Forming a budget and keeping it updated does take time.  First you have to decide on what system you’ll be using, then you have to create your categories, and later on you put in time to enter your purchases.  I spend about 2 hours a month on it now, but it used to take an hour a week when we were really on the ball.

2)  Records.

  You do have to know what purchases you made in order to keep up with each category total, so record-keeping is necessary.  Receipts or a small notebook can help out.  My husband and I use rewards credit cards as often as possible, so we use those statements and simply have a category for “Cash” for any withdrawals we make.  I can also check our check book register to see if we wrote any checks.

3)  Prioritizing.

  It is stressful to prioritize your spending if you have any tough decisions to make.  Currently Mr. BFS and I make enough to cover our basic wants and needs, but a few years ago, we had to decide what we could buy and put everything unnecessary to the side.  It’s never fun to tell yourself “no”.

4)  Confrontation.

  Budgets can bring to light problem areas and stick them right in your face.  I am surprised regularly about how much we spend on food and can almost hear my budget mocking me.  You can get it to hush up by either changing your habits or balancing your categories so you aren’t creating unrealistic targets for yourself.

5)  Insecurity.

  Keeping up with a budget could make some people feel like they must be bad with money if they have to keep themselves in check.  I see budgeting as the ultimate form of money organization, but telling yourself that “you have to write it down or you’ll forget” may make some people cringe.  No one appreciates being treated like a child – sometimes not even by themselves, lol.

Can you think of any other reasons to avoid budgeting?

16 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons Not to Budget”

  1. Aloysa

    Budgets can be very stressful! Especially when we look and see how much over budget we went on … food and eating out. We should be so overweight by now. Serious. Somehow just two of us spend a lot on groceries and going out. We need to cut it but we don’t want to do it. 🙂

  2. Crystal @ BFS

    @Aloysa, oh, I completely get that! 🙂

  3. Invest It Wisely


    I actually don’t budget anything at all. I keep track of my monthly expenses/income as well as all of my balances, and I guesstimate how much I spent on food, gas, everything, but I don’t actually add up receipts together. I only do that for large purchases or things like tuition, but what a pain in the neck it would be to add up everything every time I go to the grocery store. Maybe I’m just lazy in that way.

  4. retireby40

    Come see my money flowchart and see how I budget. 🙂
    It’s too much work to budget out every little things all the time.

  5. First Gen American

    I consider not budgeting a reward for living below my means.

    I kind of do what invest it does. I keep a rough mental tab of my expenses. I sometimes do a rear view mirror look on what my average spending has been by category so that I have a ballpark figure I try to be below. For example, I know I’m doing good if I spend less than $150 on groceries for the week.

    I mean even if you’re dirt poor you can still use cash and just stop spending when the cash runs out.

  6. Andrew @ 101 Centavos

    How about indecision? Like prioritizing, sometimes being constrained by a tight budget makes taking advantage of opportunities difficult.

  7. VeRo

    I think some budgeting is necessary. We all have to have some kind of a plan. Some keep all receipts and follow everything up in some kind of record. Others keep goals in mind, follow up credit card and banking accounts, have some retirement plan but do not necessarily keep a daily or weekly record of everything. The choice is yours, as long as you feel comfortable in it.
    As for other reasons not to budget, I would say for the fun of having good surprises!! When we know the exact amount left every week or month, we tend to plan what we will do with it… for good or bad! But when we forget about it (like a 20 bucks left in a jacket pocket), it’s amazing how much we’re happy doing that extra “something” we like.

  8. Crystal @ BFS

    @Invest It Wisely, lol, I’m not happy unless I know where all of our money goes specifically, but I bet you save a lot more time than me on that stuff. 🙂

    @retireby40, it is work. I will check out your flowchart.

    @First Gen, I use to enter our purchases every day, but now I just enter them all after the month is over to make sure we are staying on track.

    @Andrew, good point. I’m not good with big changes to our budget usually and that does affect how much we invest…I’ve gotten much better though, lol.

    @VeRo, good surprises are awesome!

  9. Simon Zhen

    Budgeting is a part of financial planning that encompasses goal setting. Some of us create a budget that is entirely unrealistic – which ends up failing. Got to set SMART goals to make it work.

  10. Lisa

    I am a huge fan of budgeting, but if I had to play devil’s advocate and come up with a reason not to budget I would say…Budgeting could produce low self-esteem especially if you already live paycheck to paycheck.

  11. Crystal @ BFS

    @Simon, yes, realism is important!

    @Lisa, I could see that. Playing devil’s advocate on something I really depend on was hard, lol.

  12. Mark

    A simple budget or cash flow, if you wish…Start w/ a 4×6 index card..inside write
    Rent carry forward
    Util Food
    phone misc
    gas T & E (travel & Entertainment)
    Cr cards due (start w/ due dates according to dates DUE)
    RE tax due, etc.

    fold in half & place in checkbook (keep bills from ATM inside the fold)
    on one side list Misc expenses: PO..Walmart(TP,Toothpaste,new socks, etc)
    Next column T&E..church donation..beer..piza..coffee(coffee is not food)bottle of vino,etc parking fees..dinner out..BAR, etc

    Other fold write down AMEX charges..same for visa, etc in Lt column (this way you keep track of your charges)

    Rt col is food expense……..Lower down gasoline expense…..

    Off budget items are oil changes….car maint….

    By the way I “escrow” $400- per Mo for RE tax…..Car ins….RE tax on my second home…Fire ins on my 2nd home, etc…..
    “rent” is my condo fee….I do not have any RE payments as I saved & bought 2 modest residences: condo & cabin……..

    to try & keep it simple I go to ATM & spend cash….use Cr cards fairly seldom…I stopped itemizing ea thing…ie..when I go to WMT to buy laundry soap,toothpaste, etc I only write WMT in the misc column……
    I’m retired & have no idea how anyone can ret without having a “handle” on how much their monthly expenses/cash flow, etc…..

    By doing this I retired a few Yrs early….(age 56)….MA

  13. Jenna

    Budgeting makes you fatter. I bet you don’t know what I mean, do you? 🙂

  14. Braden Jageman

    I use mint.com and that fixes the first two problems. My only beef is that I have to use my debit card all the time.

  15. Anthony

    Its extremely difficult for consumers to budget money.. I know from personal expierence, lol

  16. Matt

    Your 5 reasons look more like reasons TO budget to me. Everything you wrote is what I like about budgeting!

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